Michael C. Munger

Professor of Political Science

External Address: 
140 Science Drive, 217 Gross, Box 90204, Durham, NC 27708
Internal Office Address: 
Box 90204, Durham, NC 27708-0204
(919) 660-4301

Professor of Political Science, and Director of the PPE Certificate Program. His primary research focus is on the functioning of markets, regulation, and government institutions. He has taught at Dartmouth College, University of Texas, and University of North Carolina (where he was Director of the Master of Public Administration Program), as well as working as a staff economist at the Federal Trade Commission during the Reagan Administration. He is a past President of the Public Choice Society, an international academic society of political scientists and economists with members in 16 countries. He was North American Editor of the journal Public Choice for five years, and is now a Co-Editor of The Independent Review


  • Ph.D., Washington University 1984
  • M.A., Washington University 1981
  • B.A., Davidson College 1980

Anomaly, J, Brennan, G, Brennan, POSAPTG, Munger, MC, and Sayre-McCord, G. Philosophy, Politics, and Economics An Anthology. Oxford University Press, USA, June 29, 2015.

Future of the Economy: Fifty Years. Edited by R Whaples, MC Munger, and C Coyne. Oakland, CA: Independent Institute, 2015. (Edited Book)

Munger, MC, and Munger, KM. Choosing in groups: Analytical politics revisited. January 1, 2015. Full Text

Munger, M. The Thing Itself: Essays on Academics, Economics, and Policy. Mungerella Publishing, 2015. (Collection)

Munger, MC, and Hinich, M. Political Economy. Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Munger, MC. Analyzing Policy Choices, Conflicts, and Practices. W. W. Norton, 2000.

Hinich, MJ, and Munger, MC. Empirical studies in comparative politics. December 1998. Full Text

Munger, M, and Hinich, MJ. Analytical Politics. Cambridge University Press, April 1997.

Munger, M, and Hinich, MJ. Ideology and the Theory of Political Choice. University of Michigan Press, 1994.

Couyoumdjian, JP, and Munger, MC. "The Entrepreneurial Virtues." In Perspectives on Character,edited by I Fileva. Oxford University Press, 2016. (Chapter)

Munger, MC. "Hayek’s Political Insights: Emergent Orders and Laid-on Laws." In 40 years after the Nobel: F.A. Hayek and Political Economy as a Progressive Research Program,edited by P Boetke. 2016. (Chapter)

Munger, MC. "Coase and the ‘Sharing Economy." In Forever Contemporary: The Economics of Ronald Coase,edited by C Veljanovski,187-208. London: Institute for Economic Affairs, 2015. (Chapter)

Munger, MC. "Public Choice Economics." In International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences,edited by JD Wright,534-539. Oxford: Elsevier, 2015. (Chapter)

Munger, MC. "Editor’s Introduction: The Basic-Income Debate."485-488. The Independant Institute, 2015.

Munger, MC. "Kaldor-Hicks Coercion, Coasian Bargaining, and the State." In Coercion and Social Welfare in Public Finance: Economic and Political Dimensions,edited by J Martinez and S Winer,117-135. Cambridge University Press, 2014.

Munger, MC. "Political science and public choice." In The Elgar Companion to Public Choice, Second Edition,39-53. July 24, 2013.

Munger, MC. "Everything You Know About Recycling is Wrong." In The Political Economy of Recycling,edited by J Kuznicki. 2013. (Chapter)

Munger, MC. "“How to Write Less Badly” (Reprint 2010 article as book chapter)." In Top Ten Productivity Tips for Professors, Edward Elgar Publishers. 2012.

Munger, MC. "Political Science and Public Choice." In Elgar Companion to Public Choice II,edited by M Reksulak, L Razzolini, and W Shughart,81-106. Edward Elgar Publishers, 2012. (Chapter)


Munger, MC. "Tomorrow 3.0 the sharing economy." Independent Review 20, no. 3 (December 1, 2016): 391-395. (Review)

Munger, MC, and Grynaviski, G. "Pathologies of Political Authority: Constructed Racism is 'Public Reason' Gone Wrong (forthcoming)." Social Philosophy and Policy (2016).

Potthoff, RF, and Munger, MC. "Condorcet polling can yield serendipitous clues about voter views." Public Choice 165, no. 1-2 (October 2015): 1-12. Full Text

Keech, WR, and Munger, MC. "The anatomy of government failure." Public Choice 164, no. 1-2 (July 2015): 1-42. Full Text

Guzmán, RA, and Munger, MC. "Erratum to: Euvoluntariness and just market exchange: moral dilemmas from Locke’s Venditio." Public Choice 164, no. 1-2 (July 2015): 189-189. Full Text

Keech, WR, and Munger, MC. "Erratum to: The anatomy of government failure(Public Choice, (2015), DOI 10.1007/s11127-015-0262-y)." Public Choice 164, no. 1-2 (June 10, 2015): 43-44. Full Text

Munger, MC. "One and One-Half Cheers for Basic-Income Guarantee: We Could Do Worse, and Already Have." Independent Review 19, no. 4 (2015): 503-513.

Munger, MC. "Empowering, Not Enfeebling: Beyond the ‘Market v. State’ Dichotomy." Conversations on Philanthropy 10 (2015).


&NA, and, . "Editorial introductions." Current Opinion in Critical Care 18, no. 2 (April 2012): v-vi. Full Text

Munger, MC. "Economic Choice, Political Decision, and the Problem of Limits." Public Choice: Homo Economicus, Homo Politicus 137 (2008): 507-522. (Special issue)

Munger, MC. "Thinking About Order Without Thought." Public Choice: Tullock's Contributions to Spontaneous Order Studies 135 (2008): 79-88. (Special issue)

Munger, MC. "Blogging and Political Information: Truth or ‘Truthiness’?." Public Choice: The Power and Political Science of Blogs. 134 (2008): 125-138. (Special issue)

Munger, MC. "19th Century Voting Procedures in a 21st Century World." Edited by W Shughat and R Tollison. Public Choice: Public Chpoce Perspectives at the Dawn of the 21st Century 124 (2005): 115-133. (Special issue)

Munger, MC. "Comment on 'Judicializing Politics, Politicizing Law' by John Ferejohn." Law and contemporary problems: The Law of Politics 65 (2002): 87-94. (Special issue)

Munger, MC. "Political science and fundamental research." PS-POLITICAL SCIENCE & POLITICS 33, no. 1 (March 2000): 25-30. Full Text

Mellor, WH, Berliner, D, Sherman, PM, et. al., , and Munger, MC. NC Dental Examiners v FTC, "Scholars of Public Choice Economics in Support of FTC". 2014.

Munger, MC. Idaho Republican Party v Ysursa. Idaho Gov, 2011.

Munger, MC. Libertarian Party, et al v. State, et al. Southern Coalition for Social Justice, 2009.

Hayward, A, Dimino, M, Jones, CA, La Raja, RJ, Milyo, J, Munger, MC, New, NJ, Primo, DM, and Samples, J. Brief Amicus Campaign Finance Scholars in Support of Appellant, Citizens United. Washington, DC: Wilson - Epes Printing Co., Inc, 2002.

Munger, MC. Political Parties and Campaign Finance. April 5, 2000.

Munger, MC, and Bluestein, F. Single Prime and Multi-Prime Contracting in North Carolina Public Construction. Raleigh, NC, September 1994.

Munger, MC, Coates, D, and Heid, V. The Disposal of Low-Level Radioactive Waste in America: Gridlock in the States. St. Louis, MO, 1992.


Munger, MC. "Success, White Privilege, and Donald Trump." (April 18, 2016).

Munger, MC. "Should You Hire a Private Bodyguard?." (March 18, 2016).

Munger, MC. "We Can Never Run Out of Anything." (February 5, 2016).

Munger, MC. "Customer or Consumer: Michael Munger Responds." (January 27, 2016).

Munger, MC. "The First Rule of Wing-Walking." (January 25, 2016).

Munger, MC. "Division of Labor." (2016).

Munger, MC. "We've Gotta Do Something!." (December 28, 2015).

Munger, MC. "We Should Do Something!." (December 7, 2015).

Munger, MC. "Every Flaw in Consumers Is Worse in Voters." (November 3, 2015).


Munger, MC. "The Beauty of the Virtual Discussion Section." Chronicle of Higher Education (April 11, 2016). (Scholarly Commentary)

Munger, MC. "L'Affaire LaCour: What it can teach us about academic integrity and 'truthiness'." Chronicle of Higher Education (June 15, 2015). (Scholarly Commentary)

Munger, MC. "Everything You Know About Recycling is Wrong." Cato Unbound (On-line journal, not refereed) (2013).

Ordeshook, P, Munger, M, Lin, T-M, and Jones, B. "In memoriam: Melvin J. Hinich, 1939-2010." PUBLIC CHOICE 146, no. 1 (January 2011): 1-8. Full Text

Munger, MC. "10 Tips on How to Write Less Badly." The Chronicle of Higher Educaiton (September 6, 2010). (Scholarly Commentary)

Munger, MC. "Lean on Your Staff." Chronicle of Higher Education (May 31, 2010). (Scholarly Commentary)

Munger, MC. "10 Suggestions for a New Department Chair." Chronicle of Higher Education (April 8, 2010). (Scholarly Commentary)

Munger, MC. "The Right Kind of Nothing." Chronicle of Higher Education (January 7, 2010). (Scholarly Commentary)

Munger, MC. "Sorry I'm Late." Chronicle of Higher Education (November 16, 2009). (Scholarly Commentary)

Munger, MC. "No Turtles: Faculty-Media Relations." Chronicle of Higher Education (June 18, 2009). (Scholarly Commentary)


PPE Program at Duke University awarded by Center for Excellence in Higher Education (Principal Investigator). 2015 to 2019

Luke Sheahan Manuscript Support awarded by Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2016 to 2018

Clyde Ray Manuscript Support awarded by Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2016 to 2018

SPSA 2017 Travel Support awarded by Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2017

American Values and Institutions Program and Program in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics awarded by Thomas W. Smith Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2013 to 2017

American Values and Institutions Program and Program in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics awarded by Thomas W. Smith Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2013 to 2017

Buchanan Camp Conference awarded by Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2017

Capstone Class awarded by Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2015

Doctoral Dissertation Research in Political Science: Refining the Contextual Specification of Games awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2008 to 2011

The Duke Program in American Values and Institutions awarded by National Endowment for the Humanities (Co-Principal Investigator). 2004 to 2010


Should I go to grad school?. Creator. http://www.learnliberty.org/videos/should-i-go-to-grad-school/ (2015)


Do you want to be a professor? Are you in grad school, applying, or preparing to apply? Do you ask yourself “should I go to graduate school?” or “should I apply for a PhD program?” If so, then let this video be your guide as Professor Michael Munger of Duke University outlines three “do”s and “don’t”s of grad school.

Why Do We Exchange Things? . Creator. http://www.learnliberty.org/videos/why-do-we-exchange-things/ (2013)


What can we learn about markets from a WWII POW camp? According to British economist R. A. Radford, POWs found that rather than give away unwanted rations to other POWs, “goodwill developed into trading as a more equitable means of maximizing individual satisfaction.” Professor Michael C. Munger explores what makes exchange more equitable than simply giving gifts.

Giving Away Money Costs More Than You Think . Creator. http://www.learnliberty.org/videos/giving-away-money-costs-more-y/ (2013)


People and organizations incur costs when they compete for money that is “given” away. For example, if a college offers a scholarship to the student who writes the best essay on a particular subject, students competing for the scholarship will spend time and resources to create their essays and submit their applications. Although the chosen winner will likely benefit from the prize, the other students who competed for the scholarship and lost also lose the time and money they invested in getting the award. The cumulative sum of the time and effort of all the students together may in fact exceed the monetary value of the award.

Why Is the NRA So Powerful? . Creator. http://www.learnliberty.org/videos/why-is-the-nra-so-powerful/ (2013)


Why is it that organized interest groups such as the National Rifle Association wield such powerful influence in policy discussions? According to Professor Mike Munger, the reason is simple. In politics, small but organized groups win.

What Do Prices “Know” That You Don’t? . Creator. http://www.learnliberty.org/videos/what-do-prices-know-that-you-dont/ (2013)


According to Prof. Michael Munger, prices (as in, the price of a carton of milk, or a new car) are akin to magic. Prices “magically” convert countless pieces of dispersed, complex information into a single signal that conveys to sellers what they should do to best benefit society. By ignoring the price system, you’re really ignoring the needs of those whom you want to serve.

Externalities: When Is a Potato Chip Not Just a Potato Chip? . Creator. http://www.learnliberty.org/videos/externalities-when-is-a-potato-chip-not-just-... (2012)


An “externality” occurs when a transaction between two people affects a third person without that person’s permission. Professor Michael Munger illustrates a simple externality problem with potato chips. If Art sells potato chips to Betty, Art and Betty are both better off. However, if Betty crunches her chips loudly enough that it annoys Carl, then Carl has to bear a cost (in the form of annoyance), despite not receiving any benefit from the potato chip exchange. In this example, the volume of Betty’s eating is an externality Carl has to endure.

Should Majorities Decide Everything? . Creator. http://www.learnliberty.org/videos/should-majorities-decide-everything/ (2012)


In this video, Professor Munger reminds us of the difference between democracy and majority rule. Democratic constitutions establish not only the process by which decisions will be made, but also the limits on kind of things can be voted on. This prevents the majority from deciding everything. He warns, however, that these limits on what can be decided democratically have been slowly eroded in American courts of law.

Fight of the Century: Keynes vs. Hayek Round Two . Actor. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTQnarzmTOc&feature=youtu.be (2011)


This hip hop music video, a follow-up to "Fear the Boom and Bust", examines 20th century economists John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich von Hayek (played by Billy Scafuri and Adam Lustick, respectively) responses to the Great Recession. The central question in the video is whether a successful economy results from a "more bottom up" (i.e. totally free market) or "more top down" (i.e. Economic interventionism) approach.

"Fear the Boom and Bust" a Hayek vs. Keynes Rap Anthem . Actor. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0nERTFo-Sk&feature=youtu.be (2010)


This hip hop music video presents 20th century economists John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich von Hayek (played by Billy Scafuri and Adam Lustick, respectively) taking part in a rap battle discussing economics, specifically, the boom and bust business cycle, for which the video is named. The video has more than five million views on YouTube.